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Craig Henighan talks about Lowender

“You can really control the punchiness of the plug-in.”

Tchad Blake talks about Lowender

“I love that thing.”

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Apr 10, 2009

Over the past six months, two fabulous software products have transformed our approach to web design. While I suppose we *could* have pulled off the new site design without the aid of these tools, it would have involved at least twice the amount of cursing, hair-pulling, crying, and bourbon drinking. In any case, we’ve turned a corner on our old approach, and we happily say good riddance. So without further ado, here are two products now indispensable to our web work:

Coda

“One-window web development” is Coda’s slogan, but this app does so much more than shrink the pixel footprint of your working environment. Most importantly for us, it brings a level of organizational sanity to website work. What was once a mess of obscurely named folders has become a tidy list of websites, each with their associated FTP server logins. Add to that code completion, an easy-to-use plug-in system for extending the app, and my favorite monospace font ever - and you’ve got a great, great deal at $99. (And I’m proud to mention that Coda is made by another Portland, OR software company, Panic Inc.). Coda is for Mac OS X only… sorry Windows fans.

CodeIgniter

CodeIgniter has made designing a website much like designing an application. I’d been using bits of PHP code for dynamic content for years, but with CodeIgniter, it’s the first time that I created a site from the ground up as a series of classes and functions, with all the grace and efficiency of a well-designed application. So what is CodeIgniter? “CodeIgniter is a powerful PHP framework with a very small footprint, built for PHP coders who need a simple and elegant toolkit to create full-featured web applications.” It’s free, and will work on both PHP 4 and PHP 5 installs. If you’re looking to try your hand at Model-View-Controller (MVC) website architecture, this would be a great place to start. Their documentation is top-notch… dive in.